I debated whether to post this in The Crucible, but decided my critique fit more with The Unlikely Son. The post below is actually two posts from Shann combined.
FROM SHANN HALL
This is an excerpt from my poem. It's about me feeling like a lost little girl. When I encounter Jesus, the various parts of my personality talk. I'm struggling with using I vs She. I think I want to stick with I because the mother, sister, little girl are all me. a point I'm trying to make I've had people tell me I should use She. I've started about halfway through the poem.
But I feel so scared and all alone; like a little girl about 5 years old
Getting ready to cross a busy street with no one’s hand to hold.
As I was talking to my mother, I noticed a glorious light.
It was warm and comforting. It turned my darkness bright.
I looked on in awe, and then I heard a powerful voice
Telling me that I was alone- a little girl lost by choice.
When my eyes adjusted to the Light, my little girl looked all around;
I saw a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend; the little girl lost had been found.
Jesus held my hand and said, “All that you will ever need
Is within your reach; I gave you everything when I planted your seed.
“I am the Gardener. I’m here all the time
To help my plants grow and keep them in line.”
I looked at Jesus with my little girl eyes.
“Tell me the truth,” I said, “What kind of plant am I?”
I pictured a beautiful, fragrant rose or maybe a strong and useful tree;
Something wonderful and mysterious, perhaps an elusive plant, deep in the sea.
Jesus held me tight. I could tell He knew my every need.
But my body shook all over when he told me I was a weed.
He chuckled gently at the look upon my face.
“You were planted for a reason in a very special place.
“When humans try to think like God, they almost always get it wrong.
I made you a dandelion because it’s beautiful and strong.
“I knew you would face trials as well as troubles and difficult tests.
So I gave you perseverance and versatility to face the world and be your best.”
Then the mother in me spoke up loud and clear,
“Remember when the children picked the first flower of the year?
“It was always a dandelion in your baby’s hand
Presented with a smile so bright it lit up the whole land.”
Then the sister in me reminded me of the white fluff
That blew our wishes to heaven with a little spit, and a mighty puff.
“Don’t forget the dandelion chain,” chided the part of me that is a wife.
“You’d hook the flowers together and dream of the love of your life.”
My friend persona softly said, “We loved picking the flowers
While dancing in the back yard. We would pick, talk, and laugh for hours.”
Even the little girl lost had something important to say,
“If you need to find out if you like butter, using a dandelion is the best way.”
The memories of dandelions made me smile and filled my heart with laughter.
Whatever happened to the person who believed in happily ever after?
Jesus squeezed my hand and said, “I made you strong and tough,
Just like the feisty dandelion, you’re capable of all kinds of stuff.
“To some a dandelion is a beautiful flower, others see it as a troubling weed
You set the example of who you want to be. I will help you, if you follow My lead.
“You need to have faith. Learn how to trust.
I am always by your side. I am your Rock. I am Jesus.”
The little girl lost isn’t lost after all.
Jesus is beside her and always answers her call.
At first I felt insulted to be labeled a weed.
But now I know that I am blessed indeed!
So if I ever feel lost and alone again, I just need to look and find in me
The sister, the mother, the wife, the friend… and my Savior, Jesus, who set me free.
Several days ago I submitted what I lovingly called a poem. It lacked the consistent number of syllables and rhythm is like a foreign language to me I’m tone deaf and I have a very hard time telling where the stresses naturally fall. What I would really like for what I am calling a poem, but it is more of a vision is to see it not as a poem in an anthology, but as a coffee table book with beautiful photographs that accompany the story I’m trying to tell. I’ve gone over the first several lines and tried to get the count somewhat even. What I really would like to do is get my message across and have it available as a 60 line story/poem with photos that help me on my journey. This is a Christian piece and I believe God wanted me to write it not just for me but for others also. I’ve read it in churches and hospitals and have had over 25 total strangers ask me where they can get a copy. I hope you will help me figure out if it’s a possibility and what’s the best way to go about. The following is the first few lines after taking some previous advice. I also have what it was like originally. The most important thing to me is my message, but I am hoping you’ll be able to help me get the message out there. The numbers at the end of the line is the number of syllables. If you think it has a chance to be a coffee table book, I’ll keep working on the count and the rhythm. I’ll admit it’s very hard for me to hear if it’s ---//-- or----/-//. So I’ll appreciate any input. Please tread softly on my battered soul. Most of you have been absolutely wonderful and very kind. I hope I’m not asking too much. Thanks for your time.
I’m a just little girl lost, so scared and all alone; 13
Trapped in this body, a little girl all on her own. 13
I searched through my mind full of anger, fear, and pity 13
Questioning my God, “Why, did why You do this to me? 13
I started my quest by sorting the truth from the lies, 13
The little girl lost received a wonderful surprise. 13
I didn’t understand, I wanted to believe what I saw. 14
It wasn’t possible; it broke the physical laws. 13
I did a double take but there she was as plain as day, 14
Fifteen years had passed since my beloved mom had passed away. 14
She held me tightly, as I asked, “What are you doing here 13
Poking around my soul? Is there no heaven out there?” 13
My mother smiled lovingly and patted my head. 13
“Jesus promised He’d never leave you. It’s just like He said.” 14
The original version was like this… Does it make a difference as far as poetry goes, do I take away from my message? I know I 'm saying the same thing but would it be more likely to be used as a gift book?
I’m a little girl lost, scared and all alone;
Trapped in a woman’s body, a little girl all on her own.
I search through my mind full of anger, fear, and pity.
Asking if God is real, then why did He do this to me?
While wandering through my body, sorting the truth from the lies,
The little girl lost stumbled upon a wonderful surprise.
I didn’t understand at first. I wanted to believe what I saw
But it wasn’t possible; it broke all of the physical laws.
I blinked my eyes, and then did a double take. But there she was as plain as day.
Even though it had been well over 15 years since my beloved mother passed away.
She held me in her arms, as I asked, “What are you doing here
Poking around my mind? Does this mean that there is no heaven out there?”
My mother smiled lovingly. She patted my little girl head.
“Jesus promised He’d never leave you. It’s just like He said.”
The first thing that struck me, as a Christian, was your speaking with the dead. If you are a Christian, you know God has strong prohibitions against that. Though you may view it as symbolic or as a literary device, and even though it is your mother, it still is a portrayal that directly contradicts God's laws. Remember God executed King Saul for a similar offense.
Second, if you are a Christian, you know the main thing is Christ. This poem is almost entirely about you, and very little about Christ.
Third, I tend to distrust fanciful representations of Jesus like this that invent things that He would supposedly say, because usually, the author writes what he would like to hear Jesus say, not what Jesus in fact said. Look at your words that you put in His mouth. Supposedly, He created you a dandelion to grow in a field by yourself with a little help from His sun and rain. Is that what Jesus would say? No. The real Jesus says this: I am the Vine, you are the branches. As long as you stay connected to Me, you will live and grow and bear fruit, but apart from Me, you will die. Deep down, we all like to think we’re little flowers blooming on our own with a little help from Christ, but the reality is that without a vital connection to Christ, we’re nothing. It is He Who creates us, sustains us, and guides us in our growth, and our part is simply to allow Him to do it.
So...while I applaud your effort – nobody knows better than me how difficult good poetry is to write – I think it is not something that would particularly please Christ, though your heart was in the right place. I think prayer and reading Christ’s actual words would help you improve this immeasurably.